Aaron Zigman has made a very decent career scoring melodrama. Melodrama, if handled with the proper vision and approach can result in extremely enjoyable entertainment that goes for the direct emotions without being anything too deep. Addicted is melodrama in the worst sense possible. It’s a melodrama that takes itself seriously, and so does the score. It’s a typical affair gone bad deal. The music here though doesn’t do anything interesting, instead reflecting the absurdly ridiculousness of what Addicted is.
Addicted goes your typical route. It establishes your picture-perfect relationship, it introduces the element of seduction with the affair, things get hot and heavy, everything is at risk of being uncovered, and then everything becomes about love at the end. The music follows the motions of this as well. No initiative is taken with the score. We get these wishy-washy strings with the chilled trickling of a piano. Slow strums of the guitar are used for “passion”, and everything just tries way too hard. There really isn’t much to delve into with Addicted as it’s all surface level. You can’t score a kiss, you can score the emotion that fuels a kiss. Addicted tries ever so hard to add emotion that isn’t there to begin with instead of embracing the emotions of the story. Sure some of it sounds “pretty”, but the score pushes so hard that it becomes empty. It’s like that scene from Spy Hard, when the director of the agency is giving an over the top monologue and this blaring violin keeps getting louder till he finally yells “Can you practice someplace else, I’m trying to think!”. The score doesn’t add anything, it just seems in the way. They tell you in screenwriting to show, don’t tell. That applies to scoring as well. Don’t tell us what to feel.
Addicted isn’t seductive, romantic, erotic or compelling. It clearly thinks it is, but it isn’t. The score doesn’t support any genuine emotions and in the end just pushes too hard. It always wants to tell you what the emotions are, and it does so with never-ending shimmering strings with tricking piano. The guitar is supposed to be romantic and sexy, but it sounds more akin to a daytime soap opera.
Here is the scene from Spy Hard I was referencing, and what I was thinking about while listening to the entirety of this score:
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